By Mark Staffieri
When the city of Ottawa first hosted the IIHF Women?۪s Worlds in 1990, the colour pink captivated the hearts and minds of hockey fans. Led by living legends like Geraldine Heaney, Angela James, Vicky Sunohara and France St. Louis, Canada claimed its first gold on the power of pink.
Heading into the 2013 IIHF Women?۪s World Championships, the Canadian national women?۪s team is hoping that black and yellow will be the new colour of hockey magic. A black jersey with the traditional Hockey Canada logo in the front shall be adorned by yellow trim.
The Canadian National Women?۪s Team shall wear the jerseys for the first time on April 2. While the contest will be against heated rival, the United States, it marks the first of two consecutive days that the Canadian team will be playing for a worthy cause. On April 3, proceeds of program sales and certain ticket sales shall go to the Do It for Daron foundation; an Ottawa based charity seeking to prevent suicide.
The jerseys symbolize an effort on the part of women?۪s hockey to fight for the cure. New legends like Caroline Ouellette (of the Montreal Stars) will be playing with plenty of emotion as her aunt Claire survived the disease in 2010.
Of note, the black and yellow jersey is known affectionately as the Livestrong jersey. The new third jersey is part of a fundraising campaign with national sporting retailer Sport Chek. Proceeds of jersey sales and other related merchandise shall support Livestrong and the Canadian national women?۪s team.
Unveiled at the Place d?۪Orleans shopping mall (located east of Ottawa, Ontario), the new third jerseys encompass a great initiative on the part of Hockey Canada, Nike, Livestrong and Sport Chek in the fight against cancer. For all the fans and players alike whose lives have been directly or indirectly impacted by the disease, the jersey will bring with it remarkable symbolism.
Toronto Furies team captain Tessa Bonhomme is also a member of Team LIVESTRONG, a group of athletes from throughout the world whose lives were affected by the disease. Her grandmother survived the disease and Bonhomme has worked tirelessly to raise funds in fighting the disease.
Along with Bonhomme, three other CWHL stars were at the unveiling. Brampton captain Jayna Hefford and alternate captain Gillian Apps were on hand. In addition, CWHL leading scorer Meghan Agosta-Marciano rounded out the foursome. All wearing the new third jersey, these four fantastic athletes know that they will be playing for more than just a hockey win on April 2, but the dream of a world without cancer.